tv Book Discussion on Exceptional CSPAN September 19, 2015 11:00pm-12:02am EDT
in a road to character, david brooks and the lives of ten historical individuals on how to achieve success. many of these authors have or will be appearing on book tv. you can watch them on our website, book tv.org. former vp dick cheney and former deputy assistant secretary of state liz cheney discussed their book, exceptional, which looks at america's foreign-policy and national security.
coming this evening. in honor of our men and women in uniform, who serve our cause around the world, please stand and join me for the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands one nation under god indivisible with liberty and justice for all. thanks, please be seated. now play ball. before we get started i would like to recognize one person in particular in the audience. his name is ben sutton. he he is one of our board of trustee embers of the foundation. thanks thanks for coming, ben. [applause]. no matter how practiced one might feel they are at introducing a famous or important person, it's it's also not easy, at least not for me. i think one of called on to do
their very best and go beyond the reading of a simple impressive resume. when a guest has has gone out of their way and spent their lifetime in the realm of public service and performed magnificently for the american people, i think they need to be lauded, thanked and introduced in a thoughtful way. so, that was a challenge i faced as i, once once again, sat down and prepared to write an introduction of both vice president dick cheney and his accomplished daughter, liz. for those of you who follow events at the reagan library, you know quite well that both our guests have been here before so what to do to impress upon an audience once again that our visitors are something special. one theory holds force fourth
that if you've done something once, stick with it. that would be taking the easy way out. thanks to the miracle of modern technology, i plan to do just that. i am sure for the more than 1000 of you you gathered here this evening, it is indeed special. that is because, tonight, tonight, we are in the presence of another true american hero. vp cheney and liz, welcome to the reagan library. [applause]. here is another more modern definition, one that that his family and millions of people in this country would easily embrace. hero, a man of courage or ability admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities. i like that one.
in all honesty, it does not do the man justice. how do you define someone who has quite literally dedicated his entire life to his country? someone who has faithfully served five presidents and in the process has selflessly come to the aid of our country in times of great crisis. if any of you are counting, that's for presidents i've listed, not five as a previously noted. the fifth that vice president cheney served with great honor, perhaps not director directly but with great honor, without hesitation, was ronald ragan. first as a foot soldier during his time in congress and then as a member of intelligent committee and deputy of the house. he was a critical and respected player on capitol hill who helped make president reagan's legislation program a reality.
okay, not bad. i want to say that every word of that introduction remains both timely and true. what's new and what's exciting about their visit today is that they are here with a new book entitled exceptional. why the world needs a powerful america. they wrote an opinion piece in the wall street journal, but to me it certainly feels it. they said trying to lead the world from behind was in a state of collapse and the ramifications for america's desire. their book, just public published, expands on that in great detail. it is a must need must need not only for those
fallen events in the campaign trail in 2016, but i am hopeful that it will also become assigned reading in history classes for decades to come because that is what it is. historical evidence that american exceptionalism that president reagan help to find and defend has been under attack by president obama and his administration for years. there has been an assault, that is the undoing of america's stature and position in the world. with that, ladies and ladies and gentlemen, let me please ask you to join me in welcoming to the stage vice president dick cheney and former secretary of state liz cheney. [applause].
>> thank you very much. it is a real joy and honor for us to be able to be back at the reagan library. as john mentioned, the whole concept of american exceptionalism is one that president reagan wouldn't even question. in many ways, we were very inspired by pres. reagan and the things he did and said both during his presidency and before his notion that it was critically important that the united states lead the world is understanding that without us, there was no one who would step in. his rejection of ideals and idea of moral equivalent were at the forefront. you will see, when you buy our
book, which i hope you will do, that we open the book, the quote that leads the whole thing is by president ronald reagan. on march 23 of 1983 he said, it he said, it is up to us and our time to choose and choose wisely between the hard, but necessary task, of preserving peace and freedom and the temptation to ignore our duty and blindly hope for the best while the enemy of freedom grow stronger day by day we are again, as we sit here tonight, at another moment like that. at a moment when the nation is under tremendous threats and where we have to decide. it can be very easy to sort of say, things are things are such a mess, washington is such a mess, i'm just going to try to live my life and focus on what's happening close to me at home.
i will try to shut out the fights and the debates that are going on. one of the reasons we wrote this book was to urge the people do not do that and make the point that the fate of the republic depends on people not doing that andrew roberts once said, to the question of whether america was born great, achieved greatness or had greatness thrust upon her, the only only possible conclusion must be all three. that we were born of this revolutionary idea that we are endowed by our creator of certain inalienable rights. that made us us a model of others around the world. then during world war ii, we became freedom the defender. that's that's where we became in the book. talking about the role america played beginning in 1939 defending freedom around the
world. at the end of the cold war, because of the leadership of ronald ragan in large part, we became the world's superpower. it's not just our involvement in world affairs that made a difference, it's our leadership. our willingness to lead. my dad and i felt very strongly that when you talk to your kids, my kids and his grandkids about what they're learning in school, it isn't what they're learning. they aren't learning that america has been a greater force of good than any other nation in the history of mankind. they're not learning that because of us hundreds of millions of people around the world for decades have lived in freedom. we wanted to not just talk about where we are today. although, that's a critically important part of the book, we wanted to put it into historical context and talk about the truth about america and what we did in world war ii and in the cold war
and in the first years of the war in terror. ronald reagan said if we forget what we did we won't know who we are. we were very much inspired by that and by the idea that our kids have to have a place they can go to understand the reality of what america has accomplished. one of the great blessings for me was being able to work on this book with my dad. he along with my mom gave mary and me a tremendous blessing as kids of learning to love history and learning to love this great nation. somebody who obviously has been involved as a participant in many events in the book, not as far back as 1939, but close. [laughter] so i would like to start tonight by getting your impression. when people talk about president obama for example, one of the
things that we did was go back and look at the context of this president and talk about the does does he fall on the spectrum of democratic and how does he fit in what's come before on the democratic side of the isle. >> that's a good question. i've racked my brain trying to understand why pres. reagan operates the way he does excuse me, president obama. why he operates the way he does i think back and reflect on it. i was welcoming the way he was is a new president even though i didn't vote for him. i'm a republican and a conservative. he's a a democrat.
i was deeply disturbed into 48 hours into the administration when he announced he was going to close one, mo. they were going they were going to investigate and possibly prosecute career professionals that carried out our counter terrorism program out of the cia our ability to be able to intercept communications between al qaeda overseas and their contacts in the u.s. or what we call the enhanced interrogation program that we had set up back in the aftermath of 9/11. these people who carried out instructions of the president of the united states, programs that had been approved by the national security council and signed off by the justice department and had been done by
the books from a legal and constitutional standpoint, he wants to go and have those people investigated and arrested. i thought that was an outrageous proposition from the standpoint of i understood he won the election and gets to put his policies in place, but what i did not understand that he was prepared to prosecute men and women who are patriots and put their lives on the line all the time on behalf of the rest of us it was just one of the things he came to office and wanted to do. i found that that deeply disturbing and raised questions in my mind about why that would be some of his first things that he wanted to do once he got into office. i thought back about it, and spent a lot of time reading a lot of history and especially interested in world war ii history. my own dad served in the navy and those days and i'm sure a lot of you have the same family background. as i thought about it, i thought about the fact that there has been, i think, over the decades, for 70 some years a bipartisan
consensus between republican and democrat alike on the proposition of the u.s. role in the world and need for significant military capability, the willingness on occasion to use it when necessary. that included people like fdr and world war ii, harry truman who took over an unbelievable circumstance at the end of the war and into the cold war, eisenhower, ronald reagan, kennedy, there was there was a consensus there, they didn't always agree on everything and there were differences between the parties at election time, but barack obama was clear outside that basic consensus. in my opinion based on my study of history, fundamentally disagreed. it was not in accord, if you will, with what with what i think is that i partisan accord
about the u.s. role in the world that i think has dominated our history and our policies and our actions over that. of time. that's partly what stimulated our thinking about the book. that if we look at the booking go through, i think you i think you will find we've documented very carefully where we believe that he has, in fact, done things that are not the way it would've been done if it had been done by earlier presidents. he's outside the mainstream, if you will, of presidential leadership and even raising questions about how big a role a role the u.s. should play in the world and his policies over the last course of the six or seven years. his policies are remarkably at odds with our history and what we believe as a nation and what we will have to do going forward if we are going to get you a very bad patch to get things back on the right course.
>> in 1983, president reagan gave a famous speech in the oval office. in a large part of the speech he laid out the way defense i just ought to be put together and explained that it's critically important that the nation decide first what are the threats they have and then allocate the resources to it. one of the issues that we talk about in the book, and we have a set of recommendations at the end, is this issue of our defense budget. it's an issue that we have heard some of the candidates talk about in this election cycle but i don't i don't think it has gotten enough attention and i would like to hear you talk a little bit about that to the extent at which we've got to make a real change in that regard. >> i'm often time asked what job
i like the most. vice vice president, secretary of defense, congressman from wyoming, all of them set had some appeal and i loved all of them. i was fortunate to be able to do that. my favorite job was being secretary of defense, especially during desert storm in the collapse of the soviet union. that was a high point, certainly, certainly, in my career. i came away with that, with deep regard for our military, for what we had to do to run the department on a reasonable basis , and understanding of why, in my view, that role of commander-in-chief is the single most important responsibility by any president. more important than anything else we do, build highways, grow food, you can think of all the things the government gets involved in that is, the single most important
responsibility of the president of the united states. it just is. is. i also became very much aware, and i don't want to get tangled up in a lot of detailed arguments about the budgets, but one of the most important things is the length of time it takes to change course when you have to do that. if you inherit a mass as president of the united states, you can't write a check and and turn the thing around overnight and take off in the direction you want to go inches it doesn't work work that way. i was tremendously impressed, frankly and it involved ronald reagan, when i got to be secretary of defense and saddam hussein had invaded kuwait in 1990. that first weekend of the crisis, president sent me over to get the ejection and saudi signoff for us and deploy forces. we went through all that and we were able to deploy. that was a relatively short
order we sent half a million men and women halfway around the world. it became one of the most successful operations in the nation's history. as i thought back on that, we were blessed because ronald reagan had been president years before and he believed in a strong america and a strong military. he gave us the quantities we needed of absolutely first-rate people who had been attracted to service and through the mill in terms of training, the f-15 fighters in the infantry fighting vehicles and tanks, all of those things that he had been so much a part of starting, or continuing in his administration, that's what we used to win in desert storm. the first thing i did after desert storm was over with, i called president what reagan. he was then retired in beverly
hills and i thanked him, when i first got him on the phone, i thanked thanked him for all the 600-dollar toilet seats. he said they didn't cost $600. i said i understand. [laughter] after it was over with, had the opportunity to visit president reagan and his wife in their home. i spent some hours with the president that afternoon. he was still doing well healthwise and was intently interested in all asked backs of desert storm and our relationship with the soviet and other things he was involved in with the president. he sat me down as chair chair like this one and slid a foot stool in front of me. he sat on the foot stool
directly in front of me and focused on my face and started asking me questions. i think it was an effort on his part to confidence, and skate for the memory problems he was having at that time. i appreciate what he had done because he was directly responsible for what we were able to do ten years later. now i think about going forward with what barack obama has done. the military the military is in terrible shape today. we just had the army chief of staff retire. he is a superb soldier. he he was a major commander force when we did the search with general petronius. ray was the man who operated on the ground. that was in 07 and 08 and eight and was extremely successful. he commanded, for a significant period of time over there. ray made a testimony before the
congress within the last six months. he just retired. he said in terms of the readiness level of the u.s. army, the army readiness level today is worse than it has been any time in the history of the united states army. that goes back to hundred years. the air force chief of staff has announced that we are now operating the air force with fewer aircraft and older aircraft than any other time in our history since the air force was set up right after world war ii. all of the chiefs, the current crop as well as those just retired, within the last year have given testimony in congress that given the current state of affairs, readiness and so forth, they are not capable in a crisis probably of being able to execute the national strategy that the military is called upon to do.
the military is in terrible shape. we have not not had a budget prepared the normal way where you look at potential threats around the world, you decide what you need to meet those threats, put together a budget and go through the process at the white house and on the hill of getting appropriate funds. now we have a thing called the sequester. this is a result of the budget act of 2011 and what it does, it was adopted because it is so egregious in terms of its impact, the assumption on the part of the congress was we will never live with this because it's so bad and it's going to pose so much pain that we will come up with a better solution. well they never come up with a better solution solution and now they have a sequester and it kicks in across the board to all of the spending accounts and it hits the military harder than anybody else. that's the department that accounts for 17% of the budget and takes 50% of the hit. we are now the point where we have a very serious question about how well we perform in our
crisis and how we meet threats around the world because of the u.s. military in the obama era. it's a huge huge concern to me and our recommendation in the book is sort and number one on the agenda for the next administration of what they need to focus on and worry about. >> we were finishing our book and the agreement on the l iran nuclear deal was announced. we have a section on the book that analyzes the agreement and has some recommendations on it. we gave a major speech in washington yesterday. one of the things we talk about the speech was the extent to which some of the concessions that were made at the end have a potential to be devastating. you talked about the lifting of the restrictions on the icbm program as giving the iranians the ability to launch a nuclear attack on u.s. homeland.
it's a very direct and tough criticism of the deal. obviously the administration administration is out there making claims about it. i would like to hear you talk about the issues and concerns that you have with the deal and particularly what you think about some of the claims the administration has made in the last few days. >> it was intriguing, i gave a speech at the american enterprise institute yesterday that had been scheduled for a couple months. the white house response was to put up on their website basically an attack on me that was personal more than policy. they didn't answer any of the policy questions we raised are the people had raised about that and i don't mind getting a tax. it goes with being vice president. if i wanted to be popular, i would go out to california and be a movie star. i wouldn't be vice president. [laughter] no, it's it's a terrible deal in
so many different ways. one is, the, the president has made a lot of claims for but his claims are not valid. he gets into an area that this will stop percolation of nuclear weapons. no it won't. once the uranian's have nuclear capabilities, even before that, others in the region are going to want theirs. they're not going to have all those countries, the saudi's, beer israelis aren't going to sit tight and allow the iranians to be the only ones in the neighborhood with nuclear weapons. they will go acquire their own. some of them have the money to buy them and we've had proliferation problems in the middle east before. there's no doubt in my mind what this agreement will do, a
proliferation of nuclear weapons in the area. at the very end of the negotiations, all through the negotiations, we were told this is just about nuclear question. it's not about terrorism or what iran does to support hezbollah and hamas and other terrorists groups. it's not about ballistic missiles or non-nuclear conventional weapons, but it turns out when they finally did the deal, it was about all of those things. obama put all of those on the table at the tail end of the negotiation. the embargo on ballistic missiles has been lifted. a few years down the road, same thing for the post nonconventional weapons. when the agreement was signed earlier this year, the general that commands the quds force, the worst of the worst in terms
of an evil proxy for the iranians that are deeply involved, one of their activities in recent years has been building the ied's used against our troops in afghanistan and iraq. those other related issues now are all on the table. they lifted the the sanctions that had been imposed on the quds force and ir cg. he has already been to moscow since the agreement to buy s300. that's a very capable russian built missile. he's already over there even though supposedly those restrictions remain in place for five more years. they are prepared they are they are paying any attention to that. they're already in moscow. if you go through the sequence, i don't take up the whole night talking about the problem, but one of the key the non-
proliferation treaty which was signed around 1970 in which 190 country, every country on the face of the earth signed up for this treaty. russia, china, and france, they all have uranium enriched weapons. the others assigned up not to enrich. the iranians have demanded, as part of this agreement, that they be allowed to enrich and we sanction there right to enrich even though it violates the nonproliferation treaty of 1970. it also tears up the un council security resolutions that were adopted over the years.
three of them went through on unanimous votes. all of those are targeted on the iranians because of their bad behavior and expected enrichment those are wiped out and zeroed out and we've sanctioned the ability of the iranians to have enrichment capability. now now they are the only one that are doing that and it's a direct violation of the treaty. all of that has been ignored and thrown out the window. if you go through the process and think about what's been done, i think the outcome is bleak. i think think it's a terrible direction to go down. i think we had done a lot of work over the years with respect to try and avoid the proliferation of nuclear weapons and i think the president has put in place an agreement that is bound and determined to
create enormous pressures for the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the middle east. we will have to live with all of that in the future. >> i think another point or way to sum up how people should think about the agreement, when you hear the president say it's better than nothing, remember this is the man who has been telling us he won't accept a bad deal. now he's saying this bad deal is better than no deal. it seems to me it's important to remember, number one it won't accomplish what it says it will in response to nuclear weapons. for a number of reasons my dad listed and also because the regime is swiss cheese and full of holes and won't enable us to have any sort of understanding, in-depth understanding of what the iranians are doing. it won't
let us catch them if they want to cheat. john kerry says we will know with certainty what the iranians are doing, we certainly won't. it won't prevent them from having nuclear weapons. it will give them international cover and legitimacy because suddenly you have international business run-ins and at the same time it gives them all of these benefits. $150 billion in cash the lifting of the restrictions, so you will have iran which is sworn to destroy israel, sworn recently to do everything they can to attack america and chant death to america on a daily basis, now they are provided with funds, weapons and a pathway to a nuclear bomb. when you think that you've got a president of the united states who has put all of that in place, it really
is very difficult to understand why he would think, if you said ten years ago our president is going to provide the money and weapons that iran needs to attack the united states. that's exactly what this deal does even before you get to the issue of a pathway of a nuclear weapon. it's a dangerous deal. he gets back to this notion of the president's view view of the world. one of the things that is a theme that runs to the book and we spent a lot of time on, is the extent to which you have presidents roosevelt, truman, eisenhower, kennedy, nixon, ford, carter to a lesser extent, ragan understanding that that weakness is provocative. this president doesn't understand that. it will be interesting to hear your assessment if you look at places like russia and china what the impact of his unwillingness to defend red lines and project american
power, to lead in the world, what impact that is having and where you see those relationships going in the future. >> we've been focused the last few days obviously on the iranian situation. the situation in the middle east , it's a huge set of problems. it gets worse. there's a new caliphate they are, etc. etc. you also must look at russia and china. when we start to talk about our strategic situation and our capacity to deal with it, one of the great strengths the u.s. has had going back to world war ii, is we have always had a significant advantage from a technical standpoint and all of from a technical standpoint in all of the basic technologies that you need in the military. things things like stealth aircraft or precision guided ammunition or the apron's tank which is absolutely the best in the world. that technological advantages disappearing. if you look carefully at what's happening in russia and china, you will see evidence that gap
that has been a great advantage for us, nobody's been able to best us over that period of time, you begin to worry when you see what happening. if you look at russia, just yesterday i saw an article that the russians now are building and undersea, unmanned robot submarine. it will be able to do all of those things underwater that we can now do with drones. it has all kinds of ramifications for it. they've publicized what they are doing. if you go to china, you, you will find that if you look back at their defense budget since 1989 there has only been one year when the chinese defense budget haven't gone up by double.untran digits. were a long way from having defense
budgets going up by double digits. that doesn't happen because of the sequester. they have developed a ballistic missile. working's earned about our submarines in the western pacific they know what our aircraft carriers are capable of doing. they can now take out our aircraft carriers. you can look at what they're doing in the south china sea where they've gone in. if you look at what they're doing their building bases and turning them into military facilities. they're claiming part of the south china fee which has been international waters. up to now we look at what they'll do me or put in has ukraine and crimea, i think he has aspirations of similar activity with respect to the baltics.
they were all part of the soviet union going back to world war ii. they all have significant minority russian populations and they are all 100% dependent on russia for their natural gas supplies. they are all members of nato. we have solemn obligation to come to their assistance should they be attacked. the question is, could we do that. are we capable of putting together that type of operation if we had to? i think it velda mayor put in is determined while obama is in the white house to take care of that. he sees weakness. he has a desire to undermine nato. i can see him pursuing a strategy, a series of operations basically that would really put a lot of pressure on the united states, remember we are 75% of the nato budget here there isn't
nato without the u.s. leadership and u.s. forces could be a part of that. all of that could be tested in the next couple of years by vladimir putin. he can read the newspapers. he knows what's happening to our defense budget. he has a set of beliefs, somebody somebody suggested the other day, more dangerous than the gorbachev predecessors. and doesn't to answer to anyone. there is a lot of concern both on the part of the chinese and the russians. both the chinese and the russians are working very hard to try to fill those gaps, places where we have military capability that they haven't been able to challenge previously like ballistic
missile back and take out an aircraft carrier. the threat that poses to us, the the weakness that we've imposed on ourselves, the antimissile capability that we were going to build in poland and czech republic that obama threw away. there's a long list out there. it's a multiplier. you see one foul up, one weakness, one budget cut adds on to another. then they do something like move into the eastern part of the ukraine and what penalty has been imposed? not much. you see china see china moving into the china sea, not much. then when the u.s. makes bold talk they look at obama's approach to the syrian red line when he was going to get active militarily when they used gas on
their own people and then assad did that and obama turned around and walked away from it. our adversaries and allies no longer respect the u.s. like they did in the past. every day that goes by, there's more evidence added. especially something like the iranian nuclear deal that really pounds home the proposition for adversaries out there that they have nothing to fear against the united states. >> let's talk about iraq. the video you mentioned at the white house put up yesterday in response to your iran speech was criticizing you for the decision to liberate iraq in 2003. in my own personal view is that anyone who referred to isis as a jv team is really not in the position to lecture anyone on the topic of iraq. let's talk about iraq. your sense of what you did, why you did it, was at the right thing
to do and what other impacts that it had that people may not be fully aware of. >> after we did desert storm the question was whether we should go on to baghdad and there was a unanimous view that we should not. there wasn't anybody urging it. what happened between 1991 in 2003 was a little item called 911. we little item called 911. we lost 3000 people in the united states we saw the world trade center's down, flight 93 would've taken out the white house or the capitol building if it wasn't for the courageous passengers on board and the pentagon. we had reporting after that that bin laden was trying to get his hands on a nuclear weapon. remember 911 was 19 guys armed with airliners and box cutters, airline airline tickets and box
cutters. we were worried about attacks like that with far deadlier weapons, bugs, gas, nuclear weapons. if you look at the history of the world and in that part of the world, one of the main things we were concerned about where the proliferation of nuclear weapons. it wasn't that this came up on one intelligence report prior to 9/11, go go back to 1981, baghdad, saddam hussein had nuclear reactor operating outside of baghdad. israelis took it out. 1991, saddam had restarted his nuclear program again. we took it out in desert storm. then you fast-forward in desert storm. then you fast-forward up to 2003 and we made the judgment based on the fact that we were getting a ton of intelligence that said saddam hussein was back in the nuclear business and we went in
and took down his regime. one of the things of doing that, ended any threat coming immediately from iraq but also had significant impact on the proliferation project because two examples are ready, 1981 in 1991, but 1991, but also what happened after we took down saddam hussain. gadhafi had centrifuges and a weapon design. when we took down saddam hussein, five days after we dug him out of his hole, gadhafi announced he was going to turn over all his nuclear materials to the united states. and he did. he is a very wise man. that did a couple of things. one was, think of what would've
happened in libya in subsequent years if he had not turned over those nuclear materials to the united states. when he was finally overthrown and isis moved in, killed gadhafi, the radicals did, they would have inherited that libyan nuclear program. the second thing it did when we went in and took that back from the libyans, that uncovered mr. con. he is the pakistani engineer who had a major hand hand in building nuclear inventory, nuclear weapons for pakistan. he had had gone into business for himself kind of a black-market operation, libya was his biggest customer. he had also been involved with the north koreans, the iranians, and if you go back to 1987 in a meeting in a hotel in dubai, it was mr. con and his people who got $3 million in return for providing the basic design of centrifuges for the iranians. so
1987 iranians get their start with something that came from agent con. we shut him down. he went into house arrest in pakistan. we shut down his black market operation. those are all examples where we used military or the threat of military operations to halt the proliferation. the other other thing that happened was in 2007, he showed up in my office and had photographs taken inside the nuclear reactor built inside north korea for the iranians. israeli and took it out. they are now part of the caliphate that isis now has. that wasn't instance where we
were lucky that radical islam us didn't get their hands on the material. it's only a matter of time. i think we are safer today than we would have been if we didn't take down saddam hussein. those who argue it against it would have to explain that you still have saddam hussein around. it was very important, i believe i believe then and now, we did the right thing in 2003. the world is less threatening than it was but barack obama is about to turn it on its head with his operations and the deal he wants to do with the iranians >> the rise of isis, do you think the caliphate can be contained? >> i'm not sure how you contain the caliphate if you're going to withdraw u.s. forces. cross your fingers, you can pray, you can try to find somebody who will go in and do it for you, but i think isis is such a deadly combination.
caliphate is a very significant thing. it's the first thing that time we've had this in years. they are extraordinarily extraordinarily radical. we've seen what they do, recruiting successfully, even here in the united states. i see some stories of young people being encouraged to go to syria and sign up with isis and be part of a new system. they are very, very potent and very deadly force committed to the destruction. they have a foothold in libya as well. the thing i worry about is some of the refugees flowing out of syria and into europe, some of them may well be people operating, some of those are members of isis that are trying to transfer their revolution to europe.
this is already a significant presence over there. i think the only option on isis, i think they have to be destroyed. you will have to do it sooner or later. it's only going to be more costly and take longer the longer we wait. it's going to wait. it's going to be especially dangerous if, by the time we decide were going to do something about it, they have a nuclear weapon because one of those governments over there has fallen after they acquired that capability and then we will have a great, great of a guilty. we will have instability and unrest and they've got their hands on deadlier weapons than they've had before. >> let's talk about hillary. [laughter] >> sec. clinton had a very interesting approach to e-mail. [laughter]
i'd like to get your thoughts, those on her decision that she can conduct all of her business on a server that resided in a bathroom in denver and what you think that says about her fitness to be commander in chief that's not a trick question. >> i don't think she is qualified to be commander in chief, obviously. i think this question, this private server and anybody who has been there and been through the process, whether your secretary of defense or state or part of the cabinet, dealing with confidential information all the time, you don't make mistakes like that. there some reason she did it and i assume we'll find out what it is since there pretty aggressively pursuing what was on the server hands in
the last couple of days they found there were top-secret papers on that server. that's the highest classification there is unless you get into highly specified areas. i'm not a hillary plan, okay. [laughter] >> that's breaking news [applause]. >> i'm getting a look that says move on as you look at 2016, i know you mentioned to me before we came in that you wanted to use the opportunity tonight to announce your endorsement [applause]. >> that is a fast one, hillary, it's not part of the program. i haven't endorsed anyone yet.
i've consciously stayed away from endorsing anyone for a couple reasons. one because of the book and what i'm really concerned about and liz has been concerned about is we want our efforts that we've made with the book and the things i've done on behalf of the party, i've committed to help them raise money for the republican party rather than for a candidate at this stage because they have a lot to do as well. the thing that concerns me most is to make certain that these issues, the kind we've just been talking about, national security
issues are front and center in this campaign. it ought to be if it's the most important thing a president has to do and has to worry about. it should be at the top of the agenda when it comes time to make a choice about who i want to support. i'm interested in how the various candidates will respond to our suggestions. i don't expect to be able to dictate policy at all, but policy at all, but those of the problems i see based on my 40 some years in the business. i think the records therefore itself that obama has taken us down a primrose path here and the next president, man or woman, is going is going to have to take on that task the day they arrived in office and i want to make sure that i think they are up to the task. that is my number one priority. >> so no endorsement tonight? >> no endorsement tonight. [laughter] >> sorry. [laughter] it was the case as we worked on the book, there were days, especially when we were doing the research and writing about the obama era that it could be really dispiriting. we have have a whole section on the extent of
how long he traveled the world literally apologizing for us. taking every opportunity to make sure he had conveyed to foreign governments, foreign audiences that he believed america had been arrogant. he believed america had not listened. he listened to a diatribe by daniel ortega about the things that were the lies that he told about america. the president's response was just to say i'm glad he didn't blame me for things that happen when i was three months old. he ended his he ended his apology to her, we know, from cables that have been leaked and news reports, when he went to japan. before. before he got to japan, the american abbasid or sent a cable to washington saying the japanese government had rejected the idea that president obama
travel to hiroshima and apologize for the nuclear bomb that was dropped. showing no recognition or understanding of ending the war when we ended it and why it was the right thing to do. it can be dispiriting and we want to end tonight with something that is more hopeful. that is, first i want want to read to you something that charles krauthammer has written. i will begin by asking my dad to read a section from the end of the prologue in the book. so we write that there is good news. just as one president has left a path of destruction in his wake, one president can rescue it. the right person in the oval office the oval office can restore america's strength in our own alliances, renew our power and keep us safe. it will not be easy. there are difficult decisions to be made and very little time. we faced grave challenges as a nation before and the right leaders have brought us through.
as charles krauthammer observed, it is one of the enduring mysteries of american history. near providential as to give the most hardened atheist paws that it should have produced at every hinge point, great men who match the moment, a roiling revolution all british colony give birth to the greatest cohort of thinkers ever. the crisis of the 19th century brings forth lincoln, the 20th fdr. we are living at another hinge point of history and we require another president equal to this moment. we must must choose wisely. now i want to ask my dad to read about another duty we have as citizens. >> as citizens we also have a duty to protect our ideals.
and our freedoms by safeguarding our history. we must ensure our children knew that each know the truth about who we are, what we've done and why it is uniquely america's duty to be freedoms defender. our our children should know about the boys of point to hawk and doolittle's raiders and the battle of midway and iwo jima. they should learn about the courage of young americans who fought the nazis at the battle of the bulge in japan and okinawa. they should know why america was right by ending the war and dropping the bombs on hiroshima and about the decencies of a nation that established the truman doctrine in the north atlantic treaty. they know need to know about the horror of the holocaust and what it means to promise never again. they should know that once there
was an empire so evil and be raft of truth, it had to build a wall to to keep it citizens in. the free will world, led by america defeated it. they need to know about the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, the courage of the first responders in the heroism of the passengers on flight 93. they. they should understand what kind of world militant islam will create if we don't defeat it. they should should learn about great men like george marshall and eisenhower and harry truman and ronald reagan. we must teach them what it took to prevail over evil in the 20th century and what it will take in the 21st century. we must make sure they understand that it is the brave men and women of the united states armed forces who defend our freedom and secure it for millions of others as well. our children need to know they are citizens of the most powerful, good and honorable nation in the history of mankind
the exceptional nation. ordinary americans americans have done heroic things to get guarantee her survival. america's future and the future of freedom for the entire world now depend on us. president reagan put it this way, we we will always remember, we will always be proud, we will always be prepared so we may always be/f% free. thank you very much. >> thank you [applause].